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Mixed MedicinesHealth and Culture in French Colonial Cambodia$
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Sokhieng Au

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226031637

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226031651.001.0001

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: Collusions and Conflict

: Collusions and Conflict

(p.29) Two: Collusions and Conflict
Mixed Medicines
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a structural overview of the French health services in Indochina, and of their position in colonial and international medical research, concentrating on Alexandre Yersin's plague research, cholera vaccine experimentation on indigenous soldiers, and a series of tetanus deaths linked to the cholera vaccination. These episodes show the political and professional context of the medical services, and the historical contingencies that affected their development. The cholera vaccine would continue to be employed in Indochina through the 1920s and 1930s. In Cambodia, unreliable vaccines were a theme throughout the colonial period. The story of the introduction of the Haffkine plague serum in Cambodia is described. While the Pasteur Institute, the Assistance Médicale, and the military medical services were all centralized within the colonial administration, they nonetheless had to maneuver for political priority within the system.

Keywords:   French health services, Indochina, Alexandre Yersin, plague research, cholera vaccine, tetanus deaths, cholera vaccination, Cambodia

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